Protein aggregation and clearance in heavy metal toxicity and tolerance
Despite increasing concerns about metals as environmental toxins, surprisingly little is known about the mechanisms by which they affect living organisms. This project aims at elucidating the mechanistic details of how poisonous metals cause widespread misfolding and aggregation of proteins. We combine in vitro and in vivo investigations using high-throughput screening and live cell imaging approaches coupled to molecular and biochemical methods with yeast as model system. The extensive links between metals, protein aggregation and human disorders underscore the importance of elucidating heavy metal-induced protein aggregation and clearance mechanisms. The knowledge gained in yeast will be of value for a greater scientific community and provide novel insights into mechanisms relevant for human disease processes.